Ousmane Doumbia

Chicago Fire sign Ousmane Doumbia on loan

The midfielder joins the Fire from Swiss club FC Lugano


CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 16: Chicago Fire fans wave flags with the Chicago Fire logo in action during a game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Chicago Fire on April 16, 2022 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Chicago Fire announced the signing of Ousmane Doumbia from FC Lugano. The defensive midfielder joins the club as a Designated Player on loan for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

He becomes the Fire’s third Designated Player behind Xherdan Shaqiri and Jairo Torres.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Ousmane to the club,” Chicago Fire sporting director Georg Heitz said.” He is a highly talented and versatile player with a skill set well suited for this league, and his addition will immediately bring more quality and leadership to the squad.”

The Athletic’s Tom Bogert broke the news of Doumbia’s signing a couple of days ago. According to Bogert, Doumbia will be a Designated Player for only this season. It was a decision “made to maximize salary cap assets and preserve future flexibility with so many unknowns on the sporting side.”

Heitz' contract with the Fire ends at the end of the year. Frank Klopas’ reign as manager is also expected to end at the end of the season. Klopas was appointed interim manager following the sacking of Ezra Hendrickson.

Signing a defensive midfielder on loan and as a Designated Player, even if it is for only the remainder of the season, is certainly going to raise some eyebrows considering a forward or a winger might be more of a need given the injury to Chris Mueller.

With back-to-back wins in their most recent games, the Fire are within striking distance of a playoff spot. With the MLS' secondary transfer window set to open on July 5, this might not be the last move the club makes.

Doumbia played in 35 matches, starting 34, in the 2022-23 season. He scored two goals and contributed two assists.

Doumbia becomes the second player to join the Fire from FC Lugano this season after acquiring midfielder Maren Haile-Selassie on loan. Fire owner Joe Mansueto is also the owner of FC Lugano.

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